UFC CEO Dana White announced the blockbuster pairing of former UFC 155-pound champion Conor McGregor and ex-Bellator MMA lightweight titleholder Michael Chandler, who would coach Season 31 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) then fight atop one of the subsequent pay-per-view (PPV) cards to settle their reality show score.
That was back in February.
In the months that followed, TUF ended, McGregor went to war with USADA, and Chandler sat on his couch, twiddling his thumbs. “Notorious” continued to make promises that never came to pass while White played dumb during every press conference. At this point, their headlining act will no doubt take place in early-to-mid 2024.
Perhaps later (or never).
“The status is, unequivocally, the fight is still happening,” Chandler told The MMA Hour. “The fight is not booked for a date, the fight is not booked for a venue, but the fight is booked between Chandler and Conor. There’s no way that Conor comes back and doesn’t fight me. If Conor doesn’t fight me, he’s probably not coming back — and that’s out of my control.”
“I’m ready to fight in January, February, March, April, May, whenever,” Chandler continued. “It makes a lot of sense that there is a very historic card coming up with the UFC. I haven’t been told that’s when it’s going to be, but I wouldn't be surprised if that’s when it is. If it is, I got more and more time to prepare.”
UFC 300 does not yet have an official date or venue.
McGregor, 35, has not competed since breaking his leg in a technical knockout loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 back in summer 2021, in what marked his third loss in four fights at lightweight. As for Chandler, 37, he’s also looking to rebound from a “Diamond” defeat, tapping to a rear-naked choke at UFC 281 last November.
The UFC 300 main event would probably be a good fit for McGregor, who may only have one more mega-gate (and PPV windfall) left in him, considering his age and UFC record over the last few years. And with Jon Jones teasing retirement, the promotion may not have much to choose from at this point.
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